What's On This Weekend: Dec 16-18

Another December weekend, another chance to dip into all the wintery activities across Southwest Michigan. The local ski resorts are open and blanketed with snow, ice rinks and sledding hills are waiting, nature centers have their supplies of snow shoes and cross country skis at the ready, and the zoos, parks and quaint downtowns are bedecked in wonderful illuminations. Bundle up and #optoutside.

Or stay cozily indoors with a ticket to a show, indoor crafts, delicious meals and more. The choice is yours. No judgement here.

Photo credit: Timber Ridge


  • Take up a fun indoor/outdoor scavenger hunt at the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland (through Dec 31)

  • Catch a steampunk version of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, at the Mendel Center in Benton Harbor (through Saturday)

  • Stroll under the holiday lights at Binder Park Zoo, meet Santa and enjoy free carousel rides, train rides, animal meet-and-greets, holiday stories and more (through Dec 23)

  • Glimpse a live display of the first Christmas at the Critter Barn (through Dec 30)

  • Meet Santa and wander through the festively appointed rooms of Vandalia's Bonine House, which was once part of the Underground Railroad

  • Grab your tickets for a time-honored performance of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in Saugatuck (through Sunday)

  • Find Santa's house during its temporary relocation from the North Pole to downtown St Joseph (through Dec 23)

  • Head to Holland to do some holiday shopping and meet jolly old St Nick at Home & Co. (through Christmas Eve)


  • Take the kids to the historic Keeper's House in South Haven for a reading of Christmas Tree Ship, hot chocolate and cookies

  • Embark on a festive family sleepover at the Inn at Harbor Shores in St Joseph, with a package that includes hotel room, dinner, crafts and a special showing of The Polar Express

  • Assemble a simple winter bird feeder at the DeGraaf Nature Center in Holland

  • Drop off the kids at the YMCA in St Joseph for a few hours of fun while you prep for the holidays (or enjoy a quiet break)

  • Enjoy hands-on wintery fun during the Super Saturday: Snow Day at the Forever Curious Children's Museum in Fennville

  • Meet St Nick, decorate cookies and much on free apple cider donuts at Crane's Pie Pantry in Fennville

  • Encounter the residents of Reindeer Ranch in Kalamazoo and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies

  • Learn about animals via a children's book and see a related animal up close during Tales & Tails at the Outdoor Discovery Center

  • Sing Christmas carols, nibble on treats, listen to Christmas stories and design a holiday card or ornament at the Cappon House in Holland

  • Sit down to a delicious breakfast with Santa at Plank's Tavern in St Joseph


  • Pull up a seat at Bistro the Boulevard in St Joseph for a special brunch with tasty cuisine, Santa Claus and cookie decorating

  • Make an ornament with items collected from nature at the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland

  • Strap on the skis and spend the afternoon on the hills of Timber Ridge, Bittersweet or Swiss Valley ski resorts.

Check out the Southwest Michigan Kids calendar for all the fabulous details. And don't miss our Ultimate Southwest Michigan Winter Bucket List.

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